Capitalism, socialism, whatever

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Gallup has discovered that 53 percent of Democrats have a positive view of capitalism and 53 percent of Democrats have a positive view of socialism. Also, that 85 percent have a positive view of free enterprise. Republicans are a little more positive about free enterprise (90 percent), a good deal more positive about capitalism (72 percent), and way less positive about socialism (17 percent). The only mystery here is what Democrats think “socialism” means.  Otherwise, we have learned that Democrats like government more than Republicans do. Wow.

  • Paul

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it’s more like Democrats believe in government more than Republicans do, not necessarily “like” it more.
    Especially over the past 30 years, Republicans appear to have embraced a binary political strategy of demonizing all things government (rhetorically), and increasing its dysfunction (by policy) when in control of it. The cognitive dissonance that results from pitting people against their own government is apparently only resolvable by voting GOP, as they are the only ones capable of “fixing” the bad, old, evil, broken, enemy government (which of course they broke in the first place, since hey, how else you gonna govern when you don’t believe in government!). But I digress…
    Especially since the ’08 Presidential campaign, “socialism” has become a rhetorical blunt instrument, a slur completely divorced from its actual meaning. So I’m gonna go out on another limb and posit that if Democrats are less discomfited by “socialism” than Republicans, it’s because between the two, a greater number of Democrats are actually capable of defining it correctly (i.e., without referencing any US policies/programs or Democratic Presidents since 1940). Generally speaking, the more you know about something, the less you fear it.
    In fact, most political conservatives would probably not dispute me on this, since everyone knows that liberals/progressives/Democrats are all latent Socialists anyway -so of course they can define it!
    I mean, if there were anything at all to point to in the US system that even remotely resembled some aspect of real live actual Socialism, I could understand this. But there is nothing, and the political reality here on the ground in the US is that the term “socialism” has simply become another political insult.

  • Seth Sanders

    Among talking heads, a bigger question may be: what’s the opposite of neo-liberalism, a cosmic force-cum-boogeyman for left-leaning cultural and political theorists for the past 20 years. Dominic Boyer, who gave a great talk at Trinity last year on how the US seems to be turning into the 80’s USSR humorwise, has a suggestion: